With nearly 30 Late Model victories to his name, Matt Bowling has established himself as one of the toughest Late Model Stock Car drivers in recent year. With that said, it only makes sense that one of the toughest drivers will be making his way to one of the toughest tracks, Bristol Motor Speedway (TN), for the inaugural Short Track U.S. Nationals.
Bowling, a native of Virginia, clinched the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Championship after scoring 14 wins last season between a handful of tracks including East Carolina Motor Speedway (NC) and South Boston Speedway (VA).
On Saturday afternoon, Bowling made his first laps around Bristol Motor Speedway during the first open test for competitors. Unfamiliar with high-speed, high-banked tracks like Bristol, the National Champion was in for a learning curve.
“There is a whole lot different driving style for sure and a whole lot more speed. It’s taking some getting used to but we are working on the car. We were a little free so there is a lot to get used to on the setup end and on my end.,” Bowling told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.
While he may have captured the highest title available to him in Late Model Stock Car racing, he wants to be the first to win the inaugural Short Track U.S. Nationals event. But, with the lack of track time and around 60 Late Model Stock Cars pre-entered for the race, Bowling has his work cut out for him.
“We are trying to learn all we can,” he said. “Any time I race I want to win and I put a lot of pressure on myself, but at the end of the day our goal is to have fun. But, we would definitely like to come away with a win. “
The Short Track U.S. Nationals will be available for pay-per-view on a national scale on Speed51.com. The exposure and the scale is something that excites Bowling.
“To race on a track this size and with all the publicity around this event it would just mean a lot to win this race. Would definitely be one of the biggest wins of my career.”
There is a second open test being held on Saturday, May 13 prior to the big event the following weekend. Bowling will look for his first win in his first start on the high-banks in Thunder Valley May 19-21.
See if the National Champion can master the Late Great Colosseum by purchasing a pay-per-view video ticket at an early bird rate.
-By Hannah Newhouse, Speed51.com Southeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com